Autistic Support (AS)

ABA/VBMapp Grant

In January of 2017, the Office of Specialized Services received a 1.5 million dollar grant to support the use of interventions based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in select Kindergarten-2nd grade Autism Support classrooms. ABA is the use of evidence-based techniques to create meaningful behavior change. Interventions based on ABA are the most effective interventions for students with Autism. ABA can be used to teach students new skills and also to reduce problem behaviors.

Through this grant, classrooms receive coaching in Applied Behavior Analysis from an ABA Coach, as well as, training in Verbal Behavior. Many students who previously struggled to sit for instructional tasks, communicate their wants and needs and interact with peers and adults have made significant gains as part of this program. The Office of Specialized Services has expanded this training to additional classrooms so that a variety of interventions are available to our students with Autism.

STAR

The Philadelphia Secondary Autism Project (PSAP) brings evidence-based practices to classrooms throughout the district. The program focuses on improving instruction to meet the educational needs of students with significant learning challenges, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Now serving the secondary level, the PSAP provides professional development workshops and in-class coaching to ensure fidelity of instructional practices.

Highlights

Introductory and advanced workshops for district-wide secondary staff serving students with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental delays.

• Evidence-based practices and effective curricula appropriate for each grade level.

• General education workshops and supports for teachers serving students with autism in inclusion settings.

• Classroom consultation support promotes the implementation of effective instructional methods.

• Curriculum tools available for project classrooms to ensure implementation fidelity, data-based decision-making, and measurement of student outcomes.

Supports

Professional Development Workshops

• Comprehensive workshops conducted at the beginning of each year

• Administrator training opportunities

In-Class Consultation

• Series of consultation activities to ensure a high level of fidelity of implementation

• Training on classroom routines and individual lesson plans to ensure student progress.

Virtual Learning

• Follow-up webinars available to all workshop attendees

• Online course modules for general education instructors

• Lesson implementation video streaming

Curriculum Tools

• Comprehensive curricula for preschool, elementary, and secondary students

• Access to online resources, including a library of visual supports, theme-based instructional    units, and an electronic scheduling system

• Lesson implementation video streaming

PhillyAims

The Philly AIMS team comprises a group of researchers and clinicians at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. The mission of Philly AIMS is to improve quality education for children with autism through research and practice. Philly AIMS has partnered with the School District of Philadelphia since 2008 to determine the best ways to move evidence‐based autism interventions into practice. Philly AIMS was originally funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the US Department of Education to conduct a randomized controlled trial of autism interventions, including the STAR Program (Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research). At the time, it was the largest study of an educational intervention for children with autism, and the first to be conducted as a partnership between a university and a school district. Since the completion of the research study, Philly AIMS has continued to support the district in the implementation of evidence based practices including training in inclusive educational practices, class‐wide positive behavioral strategies, and ABA‐based programming (Applied Behavior Analysis). Delivered via professional development training and classroom‐based consultation, the Philly AIMS team provides integrated support to teachers in grades K‐5 autism support classrooms.

For more information, please click here: Philly Aims K-5.